Liam Lawrence: leaving Stoke City was “the biggest mistake of my life”

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Former Stoke City player of the year Liam Lawrence has said leaving The Potters for Portsmouth was “the biggest mistake of my life.”

The winger was previously on loan at Stoke in 2006 before making the move permanent a year later and was part of Tony Pulis’ side which gained promotion to the Premier League in the 2007/2008 Championship season.

Lawrence expressed his admiration for the current Middlesbrough manager and how vital he was to Stoke’s success during that spell.

Speaking to Staffordshire University sports journalism students he added: “It was the best time of my life (at Stoke) and Pulis was a massive factor in it.

“Some people like him and some people don’t, but you can’t knock what he’s done and what he’s done since. I think he’s a fantastic manager. He was brilliant for me.”

The 36-year-old left Stoke moving to Portsmouth on transfer deadline day in 2010 in a search for first team football although however has since looked back on this decision with regret.

“I was in and out of the team at the time that’s why I said to Tony I want to go and play regular, but I should never have gone.

“I should’ve just stayed at Stoke and fought for my place.”

The former Ireland international was quick to highlight what his former side’s major downfall has been in recent seasons.

“The recruitment. It’s as simple as that.

“You can’t just blame the manager at the time. There were rumours going around that Pulis didn’t want or even know about some of the signings that they made.

“Over the last two years, the recruitment side has killed Stoke and they still haven’t recovered yet.”

Regarding how his former side will fare for the rest of the season, Lawrence was honest in his assessment of the current crop of players.

“I think it’s going to be a long season.

“I don’t think they’re good enough. For me they need to get rid of six or seven and bring in eight or nine (new players).”

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